Ryan Lambert

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  • Asking for taxpayer money, P.K. Subban and PDO (Puck Daddy Countdown)

    ST LOUIS, MO - JANUARY 02: Fans celebrate the St. Louis Blues 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Busch Stadium on January 2, 2017 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
    ST LOUIS, MO – JANUARY 02: Fans celebrate the St. Louis Blues 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Busch Stadium on January 2, 2017 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

    (In which Ryan Lambert takes a look at some of the biggest issues and stories in the NHL, and counts them down.)

    8. Cash grabs

    Oh didn’t we all love the Winter Classic in St. Louis this year? Wasn’t it so good? Didn’t the Blues win?

    Well the Blues and city officials are so, so glad you liked it that they now want to turn that goodwill into the ability to renovate the rink. And all it will cost St. Louis and Missouri taxpayers is $138 million, though the team will pay about $90 million of that. So That’s it! What a bargain!

    The good news is the state’s new governor-elect is opposed to spending any taxpayer money on stadiums, but the Blues will meet with him soon and try to convince him it’s actually good to give millionaires more money from

    Read More »from Asking for taxpayer money, P.K. Subban and PDO (Puck Daddy Countdown)
  • NCAA Hockey 101: Making Hobey Baker case for an Army goalie

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    Getty Images

    Last week in this space we talked about the Hobey Baker race and how very few goaltenders ever appear to warrant consideration for the award.

    The only goaltender to win it in recent memory is Ryan Miller, who played almost every second for Michigan State in 2000-01 and had a .950 save percentage when the national average was in the low .900s. Just a bananas season that is basically impossible to replicate under modern goaltending conditions.

    And to that end, it seems that if the task for a goalie who wants to win the Hobey is “make as much of a difference as Ryan Miller,” then Ryan Miller will go down as the last goalie to ever win the Hobey. By comparison a goalie today would probably have to be about .965 or better while playing basically every game for an entire season, which seems physically impossible.

    In fact, the introduction of the Mike Richter Award, given annually to the nation’s best goalie, seems to be something of a Cy Young For Hockey. While a goaltender is

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: Making Hobey Baker case for an Army goalie
  • What We Learned: How the surprising Bruins have rebounded

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    AP

    Most people didn’t have the Boston Bruins making the playoffs this season, and back in October that was a reasonable position to take.

    The reasons why the Bruins were a fading star in the NHL over the past few years were only going to exacerbate themselves: almost everyone the blue line was either too old or too young to be truly difference-making and the forward depth was thinning out year-by-year, and once again too much money was being allocated to guys who weren’t going to make much of a difference. Tuukka Rask having an off year in 2015-16 was a big reason they missed the playoffs for a third year running, and some were not entirely convinced that was something he’d be able to turn it around.

    All told that seems like a pretty decent recipe for Boston taking another step toward what could be a badly needed rebuild.

    Instead the team is in a playoff position entering the new year, with the ground underneath them at least somewhat shaky (they, Ottawa, and Tampa are within two points

    Read More »from What We Learned: How the surprising Bruins have rebounded
  • Colorado's biggest problem is forward development (Trending Topics)

    DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 29: Calvin Pickard #31 of the Colorado Avalanche sits next to the net after giving up a goal to Tyler Seguin #91 of the Dallas Stars in the first period at American Airlines Center on December 29, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    DALLAS, TX – DECEMBER 29: Calvin Pickard #31 of the Colorado Avalanche sits next to the net after giving up a goal to Tyler Seguin #91 of the Dallas Stars in the first period at American Airlines Center on December 29, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    “What’s the matter with the Avalanche?”

    Over the past few years the hockey world has had occasion to ask that question a lot, especially in the wake of that one improbable playoff appearance that of course proved itself unsustainable.

    How bad are the Avs today? As Travis Yost pointed out, they’re on pace for one of the worst seasons in recent memory, to the point that they appear to be tanking. Not that anyone would admit whether Colorado was taking a dive for a season or two, but when all outward appearance suggests it, it’s immaterial whether you’re trying. The end result is the same: You can’t score and you can’t win. And this follows seasons in which they finished with 90 and then 82 points, which are

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  • Bloodlust trumps logic for hockey fight-loving creeps (Trending Topics)

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    On Tuesday night in Columbus, there was a routine icing play against the Blue Jackets.

    Josh Anderson, a 22-year-old rookie, was pursuing the puck but got beat to the dots by Adam McQuaid. Anderson was fired up about a hit McQuaid had thrown earlier in the shift, or other so he went after McQuaid and got his hands up high.

    The linesman stepped in and prevented the fight, ostensibly because Anderson tried to engage in it after the whistle had already gone. Though both players dropped their gloves, they were only giving roughing minors instead of fighting majors because the linesman put in yeoman’s work to keep them beyond arms’ length.

    “I guess you’re not allowed fighting after the whistle is blown,” Anderson told the Columbus Dispatch. “(The linesman) told me it was a clean hit. He was like, ‘What are you doing?’ And I said, ‘I’m going after him after that hit.’ He just said, ‘What hit? It was a clean hit.’ It was kind of weird.”

    That this happened the same day as Dave Lozo wrote a

    Read More »from Bloodlust trumps logic for hockey fight-loving creeps (Trending Topics)
  • Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (15) makes his season home debut against the New York Rangers, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
    Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (15) makes his season home debut against the New York Rangers, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

    (In which Ryan Lambert takes a look at some of the biggest issues and stories in the NHL, and counts them down.)

    8. The Sabres

    Man, this team is awful. And it really shouldn’t be.

    They’re barely scoring two goals a game. And that really sucks because their goals-against number is actually 12th in the league coming out of the break.

    There are some things right with this team that are getting glossed over right now. There are some things wrong that were always going to be problems. And there are some things the team can’t necessarily control, like its third-from-the-bottom shooting percentage of 7.2 percent.

    There’s a lot of talent on this roster. Maybe not on the blue line, but certainly up front. Losing Jack Eichel for 20ish games didn’t help anyone, but when your leading scorer is Rasmus Ristolainen things are just

    Read More »from The Sabres, coach's challenge and Nicklas Backstrom (Puck Daddy Countdown)
  • NCAA Hockey 101: Hobey Baker candidates at the halfway point

    Union's Mike Vecchione looks on during the third period of an NCAA men's college hockey Frozen Four tournament game against Minnesota, Saturday, April 12, 2014, in Philadelphia. Union College won 7-4. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
    AP Photo/Chris Szagola

    With holiday tournaments starting this week, the second half of the college hockey season is nearly upon us. Time flies.

    With this in mind, we can at least start to look at who seems probable to be in the Hobey Baker conversation at the end of the year. The guys who are there now tend to be the ones there at the end of the season, with the exception of maybe one or two guys dropping off their production paces and being replaced by those who pick it up in the second half.

    And as usual, you can break the Hobey group down into three categories: Forwards who score a lot or have a lot of points, defensemen with high point totals, and goaltenders who are head and shoulders above everyone else and play the vast majority of their teams’ minutes.

    And also as usual, there’s a clear and very small group of guys who would be in legitimate competition for the award right now. This examination is really just an effort look at legitimate candidates, so while yeah there’s

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  • What We Learned: Are NHL playoffs really almost set?

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    (Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.)

    There’s been a lot of talk lately about how all the long winning streaks in the NHL this season have made a lot of the season a fait accompli: there’s already a sizable gap between the playoff teams in most divisions and their closest competitors.

    Entering the Christmas break is a pretty good point at which to evaluate the situation, because everyone’s off and a lot of teams are within two or three games of each other in terms of what they’ve played so far. And in the East, for example, there’s a seven-point gap between the last widl card team (Philadelphia) and the first non-playoff team (Carolina). There’s an even bigger gap between the last team in the Atlantic (Boston) and its next-closest divisional rival (Tampa).

    In the West things are slightly

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  • USA Hockey doesn’t learn from its mistakes (Trending Topics)

     

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    Hey remember a few years ago when they had the Olympics in Sochi, and USA Hockey produced a pretty underwhelming team?

    You know what I mean: When the brain trust left some of the best players at their positions in the whole world home because of things like a perceived lack of hustle or because they had bad dreams and really only wanted to beat Canada? That team ended up not even winning a medal, and in fact humiliated itself in the bronze medal game with a performance so shameful the people who make these decisions were lucky to keep their jobs.

    Or maybe you remember how just a few months ago, when they had the World Cup in Canada, and USA Hockey produced a pretty underwhelming team?

    They did this thing where they left some of the best players at their positions in the whole world home because of things like perceived lack of hustle or because they didn’t think being an elite NHL player would translate to a short tournament and, more specifically, beating Canada. That team was, in

    Read More »from USA Hockey doesn’t learn from its mistakes (Trending Topics)
  • NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 06: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers keeps his eyes on the puck during the second period against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on December 6, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers keeps his eyes on the puck during the second period against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on December 6, 2016, in Brooklyn, N.Y (Getty Images)

    (In which Ryan Lambert takes a look at some of the biggest issues and stories in the NHL, and counts them down.)

    6. Doubting Henrik Lundqvist, Part 2

    Boy, isn’t it so so crazy that even after they kept playing Antti Raanta because Lundqvist had two bad games in three appearances, it turns out the guy is still really one of the absolute best goalies ever to play the game?

    Wow, fresh off what was effectively a string of healthy scratches, the three goals he gave up on 90 shots is really good. Not that he’s a .967 goalie but this is generally what he’s going to give you over a handful of games, reliably.

    Even after getting cleaned out by Cody Eakin — one of the dirtier plays I can remember to be honest, because Eakin straight-up ran the goalie there — he went from a shutout to a 31-of-32

    Read More »from Henrik Lundqvist, Maple Leafs and NHL All-Star voting (Puck Daddy Countdown)

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